10 Items to Check Before You Move In

Dale Y the Maintenance Guy from LaCrosse, Wisconsin shares his pre-move 10-point checklist.

Here is a basic apartment checklist that should be done before you move in. All of these things should be taken care of by the landlord, with no cost to you.

1. Door Locks and Latches—They need to work smoothly with and without the key. If they don’t, request that they be lubed or replaced, since you don’t want to come home some night and be locked out of your own place.

2. Ceilings—Check every ceiling for water spots, particularly in bathrooms. Water spots mean that something is leaking, and anything leaking is a bad thing. If you find water spots, notify the landlord immediately.

3. Closet door and patio door sliders—They need to work smoothly and glide easily. If they don’t, ask for an adjustment now, or plan on a headache later. Also, make sure to check the patio door locking mechanism. This needs to work flawlessly and hold securely.

4. Windows and screens—All windows should slide with little effort, and all screens should be in place and not have any holes.

5. Carpeting—Look for stains in the carpet. Stains become your responsibility if not pointed out right away, and if you don’t say anything now, you’ll pay for it later. (Literally)

6. Faucets and Drains—Check faucets for dripping, but more importantly, check beneath the sink for drain pipe leakage. You’ll know if it has been leaking right away as there will be discoloration on the pipes, major water stains on the inside surface, and quite possibly a build up of mold.

7. Heating and Air Conditioning—No matter what time of year it is, turn on the heat, and you will hear creaking coming from the baseboard heaters as the metal expands. Check in all rooms to make sure the heaters are warming up. Do the same with the air conditioning. Turn it on high and make sure you feel cool air coming out of the vents.

8. Walls—Check the walls for marks and holes. Be diligent about this, and write down any blemish that you see. Most apartments will charge the renter to repair or paint over holes or marks in the walls when they leave, so you want to be thorough and point out anything that you see.

9. Outlets and breakers—Check every outlet to make sure it works, by plugging a small electrical appliance like a hairdryer or a fan into each one. Make sure you know where the breaker box is, and check to see if they are all turned on.

10. Lightbulbs—Over the course of your rental agreement, lightbulbs will become your responsibility. If need be, ALWAYS replace the bulbs with the same type or wattage that was originally in the socket.

Taking the time to do these basic checks before you move in, can save a lot of time, hassle, and money, later.

Author My First Apartment

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Comments (5)

  1. Alissa Alissa

    Hi Brandon, thanks for reaching out! Essentially, before you sign the lease – it’s all a negotiation. Definitely try to get your landlord to repaint it for you -otherwise, at least make sure that you can repaint it yourself if it bothers you. Good luck!

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  2. brandon

    im about to rent a apt , jus looked at it . not to happy , saw , settlement cracks in sealing and in corners of walls , the walls and base boards are all painted wall color not base base, and rolled onto the celling so it all needed to be repainted i said , .. – so are they sopose to fix these probles or am i to deal with them?? please help…

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  3. Danielle

    I have to say that is one very good idea thank you “Anonymous”. This sounds like something I can actually do.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    I rented my first apartment when I was 18, literally the first one of my buddies who had their own place. The learning experience was tremendous, just trying to survive actually, and I came up with some novel ways to do things. One of the most difficult things for me to do was handling my paycheck week to week and at the end of the month I always seemed to come up short.

    The solution came one Saturday as I was watching this local TV show called Bozo the Clown. Bozo took some nesting blocks, and as I sat there eating my Frosted Flakes, he told the kids to put pennies in the smallest block, nickels in the next size, dimes in the next one, and quarters in the biggest box. They would be all separated and you would always know where your money was.

    That was an epiphany. I ran to the desk and took out some regular business envelopes, then I labeled them with all my bill names. Phone, Electric, Gas, Rent, Emergency. Then I calculated how much of each paycheck I would need to put in these envelopes to make a payment every month ON TIME.

    I began feeding these envelopes at every payday, placing the money needed inside, then putting the envelops inside a locked box, for total safety. At the end of the month, I would write out the checks for my bills, deposit the money in my checking account, balance it out, and I was done!

    Oh, and, by the way. At the end of every month, I would use any unused emergency fund money to treat myself to a night out with my girl, or to buy a new video game.

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